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A Research Guide: From the Secondary Source to the Primary Source

The Reference Department

The best place to begin a research project is in the Reference Department of your local public library or school library. The reference department holds the best kept secret within the library -- the books and electronic databases that will provide a path to the information you seek.

At the beginning of your project, you don't want to go directly to the library catalog and search for the 300 page definitive history on the topic you are researching. Although books like these will be helpful later in your research, these cumulative histories are comprehensive and provide in-depth analysis of all aspects of a topic, which can overwhelm you. What you need to do first is acquaint yourself with the hard facts of your research topic - when did the event take place, where did it take place, who was involved and what were the outcomes? The answers to these basic questions can be found in reference sources and the place to find reference sources is in the Reference Department of your public or school library!

Table of Contents | Reference Sources | Exhibit Introduction
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Introduction | Essay | Timeline | 10 Accounts | Biographies
Maps & Views | Research Guide
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